Boasting an HDMI input and a stylish glossy black bezel with chrome highlights, AOC’s 2230Fm is definitely an impressive looking monitor. Targeted at users after an all-purpose multimedia panel, this 22in monitor also features a digital media player, allowing you to play videos, photos and music without a PC.
The 2230Fm is certainly stylish. In addition to the glossy black bezel, this unit is finished with attractive chrome edging and what AOC has dubbed a “diamond cut” texture. The sides, top, bottom and rear are all etched with this pattern. In a bid to create a stylish aesthetic, AOC has equipped this monitor with a glossy screen. Most users are likely to find this annoying due to the screen's reflectivity, especially in an office environment with fluorescent lighting.
The 2230Fm has a native resolution of 1680x1050. It has plenty of image mode presets, which are easily selected by pressing the top button on the navigational pad. The five-way pad is easy to use, but doesn’t feel well built as the buttons move awkwardly when pressed. Image mode presets include text, Internet, gaming and motion. The text setting was reasonably accurate, with minimal noise and no visible aberrations around the edges of text, though colour in this mode was paler than normal. Image quality in each mode is varied, but there aren’t any major issues. Conveniently, we didn't need to adjust the sharpness controls, although there was a slight amount of grey banding evident. Viewing angles are reasonable but far from outstanding.
A 2ms response time makes the 2230Fm well suited for reproducing fast motion such as action movies or video games. When connected to a Blu-ray player via HDMI we found minimal ghosting. Finer, dark details did tend to get lost and the oversaturated skin tones were a little disappointing, but performance on the whole remains above average. In addition to HDMI, there is also support for VGA and DVI connections.
A feature AOC seems keen to promote is the digital media player engine (DMP). The 2230Fm features a USB port and a four-in-one card reader supporting SD, xD and MMC cards. There are also two USB ports that act as hubs. You can simply plug in any supported memory cards or USB flash drives to view photos, watch videos and listen to music without using your PC.
The DMP menu isn’t the greatest; you have to actually find and select your desired media to begin playback. For photo viewing, the 2230Fm basically becomes a large photo frame and images look excellent. The slideshow transitions aren’t great, however, and there isn’t much in the way of image tweaking (you can’t have your images fill the entire screen, for example). The built-in speakers are mediocre, so music playback is hardly worth mentioning. Video playback is reasonable, but this feature is not really required if the 2230Fm is your monitor at home. The DMP menu may sound nifty but apart from the photo slideshow feature we really don’t see the point. Most consumers will have their media stored on a PC and not on a memory card.